How cold is too cold to snow?

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asked Dec 31, 2020 in Weather by Shenzhen (900 points)
How cold is too cold to snow?

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answered Jan 1, 2021 by Jocsolt (870 points)

There's really no temperature that is too cold for it to snow.

However it may not be able to snow if the temperature is below -55 F and in that case the snow may be ice and not snow that comes down.

Snowfall usually happens when it's 32 F or below.

Snow usually does not stick to the ground or surfaces until the temperature is 32 F or below.

But if the temperature of the surface is below 32 F then the snow can sometimes stick when the temperature is 35 F.

I have seen snow stick to the ground when it was 35 F out but then the snow went away soon afterwards.

So if the snow does stick at 35 F it will not stay on the ground too long before it melts into the ground or evaporates.

If there's enough sun the 2 F degrees can melt snow at least a little bit.

However it usually has to be above 32 F for the snow to really begin to melt and go away.

Snow can also disappear through a process known as sublimation which means the snow evaporates without melting so snow can go away without you seeing it melt.

The reason snow sometimes gradually disappears without actually melting is through a process called sublimation.

The Sublimation is when snow or ice evaporates and goes away without turning into a liquid first.

Ice can and does sometimes evaporate without melting into a liquid first.

When ice evaporates without melting into liquid the process is known as sublimation.

Dry ice is a great example of ice that mostly evaporates without melting and it looks like steam when the sublimation of the ice is occurring.

The process of sublimation is most often used to describe the process of snow and ice changing into water vapor in the air without first melting into water.

"Dry ice" is actually solid, frozen carbon dioxide, which happens to sublimate, or turn to gas, at a chilly -78.5 °C (-109.3°F)

Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas state, without passing through the liquid state.

An example of Sublimation in the picture below of dry ice going through the process of sublimation which is the process of ice evaporating without melting.

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